Using Power Conditioners/Distribu with Amplifiers

Hello, I was curious to know peoples opinions and experiences on using power conditioners or power distribution devices inline with your primary amplifier/amplifiers.

Thru my own series of tests I have concluded that my current amplifier (Classe CA-201) sounds better when fed power via my Shunyata Hydra V-Ray verses being directly plugged into the wall.

When I say it “Sounds Better” using the power distribution device I would define this as less edgy, more stable (ie..relaxed) with noticeably more detail of the instruments and performers. In terms of bass, to my ears it seems to be deeper and have more texture. In terms of background noise, with the Shunyata in place there simply is none.

I do have a few questions but I think it’s worth mentioning the equipment I am using currently and how it’s connected before I jump into the question of the day.

My V-Ray is fed juice using a 20AMP Shunyata Python power cable and a PS Audio AC Wall plug which is then wired to a dedicated 20AMP circuit via solid core 10GA wiring. This configuration basically provides me a 10GA wire from the breaker box all the way to the back of the V-Ray since the Python also uses a 10GA wiring core. Now granted, some current disruption/degradation will occur once it passes thru those unfortunately necessary wall sockets but my hope is that the $60 beans I forked out for the PS Audio wall plug will at least help minimize this to the extent possible.

My Classe Amp is fed power using a 15AMP Shunyata Taipan Alpha power cable which is then plugged into the V-Ray.

My front end components are also fed power from the V-Ray which I suspect has enough bandwidth capabilities for all these components since it supposedly has solid 7GA Buss Bars internally as a means to distribute it's power.

Based on the above information my question is this; at what power point would you feel a high current Amp would be hindered by receiving it's energy directly from an otherwise more then capable power distribution device, fancy power cables, dedicated 20amp circuit and fancy AC plug verses directly from the wall socket itself?

My current Amp is not what I would consider a power hungry monster by any means but how would this same configuration above fare if the Amp in use was something along the lines of a PASS X250 or larger model? Ultimately, I guess I will find out soon enough but I would be interested in hearing others experiences or ideas on this topic.

Your findings of amp with power conditioner are consistent with mine using a Furutech ETP-309 which feeds a class D Rowland 312 (500W at 8 Ohms, doubling into 4, with 45 Amps peak current). ETP-309 then goes into 20A dedicated service via A High End Performance Furutech PC. I have experienced with conditioner and opening up of the stage with finer granularity, deepening and more controlled bass, greater low level ambient cues, an no deterioration of dynamics nor authority.

Some conditioners are current limiting, and some are apparently not so. The only thing I might suggest is that you move up the Shunyata line with your PC for the amp, perhaps to a Python Helix Alpha or Anaconda Helix Alpha. Helix line has greater control than older line, whith CX line yielding even greater detail and staging than Helix. Moving up the Shunyata line you are bound to enjoy greater staging and authority. Avoid VX variants, they are not meant for power applications. G.
Try a foundation research lc-10 or possibly an lc-100. I currently have a shunyata v-Ray model 2 and have also had a hydra 8. Both have been connected with anacondas to and from the hydras. These set ups provided me a distinct sonic improvement. However, they were nowhere close to foundation research units. Simply put, one is 50 times better than the other. I would like to purchase more foundation units in the future as they the best I have tried. I should note I have tried many: Richard grey , nordost (terrible), audioprism, isotek, ps audio, chang lightspeed, and several others not worthh mentioning. Furthermore, I have no affiliation to any of these companies. It's just my findings that most conditioners are bad and are overpriced. Some are not. Some are quite decent, like shunyata, but nothing comes close to foundation research's units.
Thanks for the plug, Jamiek, as I just so happen to have a Foundation Research LC-100 for sale right now on a'gon.

I've been using Foundation Research products for the last 9 years and they appear to be at the top of the food chain. I currently have about $8500 worth of FR's in my system.

Eniac26, as you may know line conditioners are a strange sector of high-end audio where perhaps most products are not worth owning and for good reasons I will not get into here.

But to answer your question, one of the important characteristics to search for in line-conditioners is to seek for one that is passive and not active. Inherently active units will rob most any high current drawing amps of the juice required to reproduce dynamic and/or complex passages.

But of course passive (and dedicated) line conditioners alone will not solve this problem. As you somewhat elude to above, if you have a high current drawing amp you will also need a dedicated 15 or 20amp dedicated line which essentially guarantees the juice from the service panel.

But of course nothing should be shared on that dedicated line. An active line conditioner or even a 23 watt pre-amp is enough to choke a high-current drawing amp rendering it somewhat lifeless and flat.

BTW, the Foundation Research LC-100 line conditioner is capable of handling up to 100 amp current draws. Hence the '100' model name whereas the LC-10 is 10 amp current capable.

Thanks for the replies and I appreciate the info provided.

At this time I am not really in the market to move away from my Shunyata V-Ray Power distribution device but was more interested in hearing if anyone has experienced a negative impact in SQ or loss of bass response using these types of devices inline with their high current amplifier. Ultimately I will plan on trying a PASS LABS X250 recently purchased in both configurations to see the differences first hand but hearing others experiences is always beneficial in my mind.

At some point down the road I may consider upgrading my Shunyata Taipan Alpha Helix power cord feeding my amplifier to one of the higher end models but that would be quite a distance in the future if at all. I am of the mind set that my current power cable is already way over engineered for it's purpose and feel it wouldn't offer much bang for the buck to move up higher into the Shunyata product line of cables.

Thanks again
I't is my understanding that Shunyata V-Ray may be one of the best power conditioners on the market today. . . I am sure there are power conditioners that sound different. . . but you may already be in the top bunch of the conditioning heap. G.
Hi Eniac26,

I just decided to keep a Nordost Thor...I was originally using my transport/dac/pre only. I decided to stick my Gryphon Antileon amp into it just to many people put big amps into the wall but I wanted to hear for myself.

For now, the big Gryphon is staying in the Nordost. I also have my Velodyne DD18 running thru the Nordost. Very surprising but all the benefits bestowed on the dac/pre/transport are increased when adding the Amp and Sub. The book says up to 2400watts...I have not done the math.

As for dynamics, on 1 out of 30 CDs, I wonder whether the visceral boom I heard at the bottom end has been lessened. The trouble with deciding is that the bass is now so much more controlled and defined that I wonder if the boom was just an indiscriminate wave of bloated bass vs the more articulate and still powerful bass notes (and decay!!!) I now hear.

Bottom line again, I am keeping everything thru the nordost.

Finally, as for powercables, I used to think the PAD Dominus from wall straight to Sub was only a tad better than PAD Aqueous. I never liked Aqueous on pre/dac but for "just bass", it was ok. Not anymore!!! With the Nordost, the difference is night and day. Keeping the PAD Dominus and not trading it in for the Aqueous (was trying to use the Dom to help pay for Thor and get lesser cable...guess not!!). Hope one person's experience helps. Good luck and enjoy!!
i use an mit zstabalizer hg 3 for my krell fpb 600c which is a power hungry mother. when it first got the device i used the stock cord to the wall and it did limit everything. the amp sounded muddy and thick. i switched to my mit oracle ac1 from the wall to the conditioner and it opened up. the other day i tried to remove it and went back to the amp direct to the wall and it was amazing how much better everything was with the conditioner. dark background, dynamics, detail...everything! it took removing it to really hear it all.

i just ordered a running springs jaco for the rest of my gear and am very excited to hear the result. i may consider a duke to replace the mit if the jaco lives up to the hype.
I have a Hydra8V2 feeding my JR C500 amp at 1,000wpc into my 4ohm Dyn C1 speakers. PCs are RSA Alethias, Anaconda Helix and Lessloss. I'm not sure how much more you can go past this amp power wattage but in this setup the Hydra definitely brings enough sonic benefit to the table to justify its existence. I think what you've got in power distribution is already up there and even if you move to a bigger amp it will still play the role. One thing cheap I would suggest is to try the Oyaide R1 power outlet... amazingly these things do make a difference and in my case the R1 was very audibly better than the PSaudio outlet it replaced.

I do not have experience with Oyaide...but a good audiophile friend just said the same as you. Definitely worth doing.
Thanks also your own I acclimate to what I am hearing with Gryphon going thru Nordost, it is helpful to know other people's experiences. I am still keeping the entire system running thru it for now.
I had three Oyaide R-1s installed each to their own dedicated 20A breaker. I run a Hydra 6 for source components. The Hydra 6 did not do it for me with my tube monoblocks connected. I bought two Hydra 2s - one for each amp.

I can't speak for the V-Ray, but I do know getting the amps off the Hydra 6 was an improvement for me in the areas people mention in this post.

BTW, I use 20A VH Audio Flavor 4 PCs terminated with Furutech FI-25Rs from the R-1s to the Hydras.
...and as for me.... I have never met a power conditioner that although has sometimes changed the sound for the better on some aspects of the presentation, has also injected some "nasties" which eventually I found more displeasing than the benefits. If you enjoy your power conditioner, for me, I go directly into the wall. I found power cords to be very worthwhile, but not conditioners. Perhaps here in Arizona I get clean power from the wall... Don't know, although I had the same take when I was lived in New Jersey.
I'm using a EquiTech 2Q and my findings are consistent to the group. I plug everything into it including my amps. Everything is dead quiet, blacker ... also made a HUGE improvement to my HDTV. I have 2 dedicated 20 amp lines for my sound system and the EquiTech replaced a PS Audio Power Plant Premier. It's the one component that made the biggest difference in my system. I'm thinking in getting a wall unit so I can wire several room to it.

As far as PCs, I find the ones that don't limit current and correct phase worked best. The differences are very obvious even with my low current drawing MW Transporter. All the dedicated PCs (ie. PC for digital ) that I've auditioned robbed something from the sound. I think if one is using a high quality line conditioner, why the need for additional filtering in the PCs?

When I was playing around with PCs on my 2Q, the performance between each cable on my TV convinced all my non audiophile friends that cables make a difference. With the non current limiting PC, the picture was more vivid, less grain, brighter ... They can't use the argument ... my hearing is bad so I can't hear a difference :-)
I agree with all including Stingreen that PC's make a big difference. Detail, power, Soundstage...and how relaxed the sound can become...less like reproduction and more like someone just in your room playing. But these differences and benefits became dramatically more apparent after the Nordost went in. To Stingreen's point, I want to wait more and listen more before I decide whether the amp will stay in...but after 30 cd's...I am pretty sure I will. Thanks to all for sharing experiences...I learn something often when I read on this site.
I've gone from Hydra 8 to V-ray and then Sound Applications RLS.

My experience is that the Shunyata products are very good. They help with soundstage focus, lower the noise floor, etc. However, in my experience their downfall is that they sound too thin and clinical. I should note that I ONLY used Anaconda pc's to and from their powerconditioners.

Elrod or Kubala Sosna pc's and Sound Application conditioners sound much more natural to me (in my system).

I have also heard the Foundation Research conditioners in friend's systems and will agree with pretty much everything that was said here about them. They are as good as it gets.

Good luck.